Belfast TradFest 2023
The Belfast TradFest is a week-long festival that began in 2015. It started as the Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music, offering a five-day programme of masterclasses, concerts, sessions, talks, and free events. Since its rebranding in 2019 as the Belfast TradFest, the event has extended to a seven-day format. The festival maintains a core focus on its Summer School and masterclasses, whilst also providing a range of concerts, talks and sessions and a festival club.
The fifth Belfast TradFest is scheduled from Sunday 23rd to Sunday 30th July 2023 across the Belfast UNESCO City of Music. The line-up includes the Trans-Atlantic supergroup The Olllam, performing their biggest Irish show to date; Four Men and a Dog, who will make their inaugural appearance at the festival; renowned accordion player Máirtín O’Connor and his band at the Empire Music Hall; Landless, the four-part female vocal harmony group; plus a fiddle concert in memory of Seán Maguire, and a concert by McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle.
The festival will also feature concerts from other well-established acts such as Kathleen MacInnes, Mike Vass, and Elephant Sessions. In an international collaboration, Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies will perform at the Strand Arts Centre as part of the ‘With Fife & Drum’ concert.
The Belfast TradFest Summer School of Traditional Music at Ulster University will be a central element of the festival, providing a platform for learning from experienced musicians. This year’s line-up of tutors includes Mirella Murray, Daithí Gormley, Mick McAuley, Len Graham, John Doyle, Jack Warnock, Joanie Madden, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Mary Bergin, Edwina Guckian, David Power, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn, Neil Martin, Angelina Carberry, Gerry ‘Banjo’ O’Connor, Bríd Harper, John McCusker, Siobhán Peoples, Conor Caldwell, Méabh Smyth, Cathal Ó Curráin, Michael McGoldrick, Martha Guiney, Desi Wilkinson, Ryan Molloy, Niamh Ní Charra, Lorraine Ní Bhriain, Ronan Eastwood and more.
Afternoon events include seminars and talks include ‘How to be a Fiddler’ with Martin Dowling and ‘Traditional Music in Manchester’ with Mike McGoldrick and Angelina Carberry, and ‘100 Years of Women in Irish Traditional Music’ with Niamh Ní Charra and ‘Arranging Music for Traditional Songs’ with John Doyle and Jack Warnock.
The festival is dedicated to inclusivity and cultural celebration. As part of this, The Pride Céilí, in partnership with Belfast Pride, will be hosted at The Black Box, adding a highlight to the festival programme.
In addition to live performances, the festival will feature the McConnell’s Irish Whisky Session Trail, spanning multiple traditional pubs across Belfast. There will also be a Festival Club featuring Laura Kerr, Darragh Murphy and Donogh Hennessy, Paula & Melanie Houton, Piaras Ó Lorcáin, Jason O’ Rourke Trio, Róisín Chambers and Ruairí Cunnane, Eadaoin Ní Mhaicín and Léda Music, the Jack Warnock Trio, and more.
Belfast TradFest is also offering student accommodation rooms to Masterclass students and families, starting at £299 for 7 nights. Find out more here.
Belfast TradFest is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council NI, Destination CQ, TG4 and is in partnership with Ulster University.
For full programme details, visit the link below.
This listing is part of a Journal of Music promotional campaign. For further information, see here.